Karnataka Premier League is a Twenty20 cricket league that was founded in 2009 and was based on the hugely successful Indian Premier League. The goal was to create something that could feed off the massive amount of money flooding into Indian cricket and to an extent the Karnataka Premier League was able to do just that, although it has never been able to match the IPL in terms of popularity or wealth and has remained in its shadow throughout.
The Karnataka Premier League follows a round robin and a playoff format. It basically begins with a league, during which each team plays every other team once. During this league/round robin stage, two points are awarded for a win and 1 point is awarded for a game where there is no result.
The points are tallied up and the top four teams then enter a semi-final playoff. The two teams that win their respective semi-finals then face-off in the final, with the winner being declared the champion for that Karnataka Premier League season.
This format is common in Twenty20 leagues and is generally very favourable. The only issue is that there isn’t a huge incentive for teams to finish top of the league stage, and on many occasions the team that does is not the team that goes on to win. In fact, it took a total of 7 seasons before the team that finished top during the league stage even made it to the final!
This disparity is common in Twenty20 leagues, but for some reason it is more notable in the Karnataka Premier League, and one glance at the previous placings would lead you to believe that there is more of an advantage to finishing fourth than there is to finishing first.
That’s not entirely true, but the stat-loving gamblers amongst you might want to keep an eye out for this as we look ahead to future Karnataka Premier League seasons.
The Karnataka Premier League was announced in 2009 and the first auctions took place in August of that year, with 8 teams put up for sale, all of which represented regions in India.
The highest bid was for Bengaluru for $1 million. This was nearly twice the average price paid for other teams, with Brigade Enterprises taking control. But as described below, it didn’t quite translate into success for the owners as the team folded within a few short years.
A similar amount was later paid for a team from Sandalwood named Rockstars, with the owners being Karbonn Mobiles, who played a bigger role in the Karnataka Premier League when they took over as the main sponsors (described in more detail below). The cheapest teams went on to be named Mysuru Warriors and Namma Shivamogga. They both cost $450,000 and have lasted longer and played in more seasons than many other teams in the league.
Provident Bangalore won the very first season of Karnataka Premier League and also made it to the final in the second season, but Mangalore United were generally considered to be the best team in the league during the first few seasons, cementing their place in the history of the Karnataka Premier League after making it to three semi-finals in a row, winning one and finishing as the runner-up in another.
Over the years, additional teams have been added to the roster while some other teams have been declared defunct. The biggest change came after the 2010/11 season, as there was a three year break (the next season didn’t start until August 2014) during which time three teams pulled out.
These defunct teams included the Bangalore Brigadiers, who won nothing but the wooden spoon in 2010/11, but had won the group stage the year before, making it through to the semi-finals. It also included Shamanur Davangere Diamonds, who made it as far as the semi-final in their final season and, most notably, Provident Bangalore, who won their first season, finished as the runners-up in their second, and then promptly folded.
The very first sponsors of the Karnataka Premier League were Mantri Developers, an Indian real estate firm who are responsible for huge amounts of residential and commercial buildings across Bangalore, Chennai, Pune, and Hyderabad. They paid a sizeable sum of $1.5 million to sponsor the league for the first five years, after which Karbonn Mobiles took over. Karbonn Mobiles are a leading mobile manufacturing company that was founded in 2009 and, as mentioned above, also purchased the Rockstars team.